I’m afraid my marriage is headed for divorce. What are some concrete things I can do now, that will help heal our problems? I want to live in domestic bliss, not constant conflict.
”Domestic bliss” depends not only on the day – to - day practicalities of sharing responsibilities, but also on vague qualities such as trust and shared values. Experience has shown that there are some specific guidelines that can keep a marriage healthy and whole.For example:
Keep communicating. Keep the channels of communication open at all levels. This makes it possible to resolve problems early on and keep spouses up to speed on changing needs. Each spouse must be part of the decision making process and share in the risks and rewards so they can make adjustments and tradeoffs when necessary for the good of the marriage.
Make it a relationship of equals. A marriage in which the spouses feel entitled to make suggestions and the suggestions will be listened to is a healthy. It is a marriage where both spouses have power. That doesn't mean you always agree. But you work it out.
Keep the other person's needs in mind. Fairness is critical: If an agreement somehow shortchanges one spouse, the spouses will find themselves working toward different goals and undermining the benefits of the marriage.
Be ready for change. Rather than expect things to stay the same you should expect things to shift and change. Make sure you have the emotional mechanisms needed for dealing with change. You have to be willing to constantly monitor your relationship and re-negotiate when a shift happens.
Finally, as any marriage counselor will tell you, the success of a long-term marriage depends most of all on the effort partners are willing to put into it. The difference between relationships that works well and those that don’t is the amount of tender loving care that is put into it by both sides.